tv FCC Chair Ajit Pai at Americas Communications Association Summit CSPAN March 21, 2019 6:35pm-7:11pm EDT
of the quality and [indiscernible] butway to be american, there are 300 million people [indiscernible] >> what it means to be an citedan is specifically on the rights of protest, i like educating myself for different kinds of people. seeing both sides of the spectrum and bipartisanship is in 2019, so it is the right to assembly, protest and vote on issues for america today. announcer 1: voices from the road on c-span. high -- 2: ig ajit pai spoke this morning in washington, dc. his remarks ran over 30 minutes.
>> please give a warm welcome to -- [applause] ♪ >> good morning, everybody agree welcome to day two for the summit. thank you, hope you enjoyed our speakers yesterday and a great greatout and about -- show yesterday, great show, thank you. making this a really special event. i have a great privilege this morning and honor to welcome fcc ajit pai.ig high -- chairman pai has seen our investment firsthand. he has spearheaded a regulatory
environment that encourages deploy to invest in and products and services in moral america and close the digital divide. the investment by members has been made possible by chairman --'s regulatory a church regulatory approach to broadband. one of his statements, his philosophy is the fcc is at its --t when it proceeds on the good communications, policy no snow partisan affiliation. we couldn't agree more wholeheartedly with that statement. he knows broadband is critical in modern life, has created a phenomenon he has called the democratization of entrepreneurship. with a grid -- good idea, entrepreneurs anywhere can compete in ways unthinkable a
generation ago. because some americans don't have sufficient broadband, he is focused on rural broadband issues near and dear to the heart of our members. we have worked in partnership to make sure we close that divide. he has fought to eliminate race -- waste, fraud and wants to make sure every program under purview gets their most bang for their buck. chairman --me budget by. -- nice to have you, sir. there you go. mr. pai: thank you. thank you so much. really appreciate it. nice to have you. mr. pai: great to be back.
>> we meant every word when we youyou understand -- said understand the investment our members have provided. thank you. mr. pai: thank you for all of your members doing the work to make this happen. i was struck by your testimony where your president made insightful remarks but none of them was more insightful than saying congress and the fcc need to respect private investment. we need to set a framework that .nables members to take risks you are brought in -- building it out to people across the country. matthew: we have said and demonstrated that if regulations lifted, investment would occur. i think you can say and you have seen this group has done it. what has been your experience since your order was implemented in december 2017? what have you seen?
been positive. i would start with the predictions made from december 2017, the end of the internet as we know it, you will have to pay five dollars per tweet, the internet will work one word at a time. we kept a list of those. every one of them has been proven false. a report came out december 2018 that speeds are up 35% from december 2017 until 2018. more people are benefiting from fiber, infrastructure investment is up. all of these indicators are positive. so this bipartisan framework from two decades starting with clinton, continuing for almost 20 years, the one we were stored in 2017 has been right for american consumers. at the end of the day, people want better, faster, cheaper
broadband. those hysterical predictions look silly. that is thanks in part that your members are on the front lines, especially in smaller towns making the promise of digital opportunity a real one. matthew: people will freely use the internet criticize to talk about how they can't freely -- mr. pai: college campuses, getting questions, i say, you can still hate to eat your favorite -- hate tweet your favorite fcc chairman. people had fears about special interests, and those are being proven false. the internet works better than ever and we will execute on this agenda because we believe it is the best way for everybody to win, for america's economy to thrive. matthew: it works. we have heard the message, we are your partner, to deliver broadband where it needs to go.
to solve the problems of rural america and continue to allow us to do that. we will take care of customers and make sure they have access. mr. pai: i truly believe your mission knows no partisan affiliation. getting better broadband is not a republican or democratic issue but american. i see that when i travel weather to new mexico or pembroke new hampshire or gulfport mississippi. these are the towns in your be a part of the digital economy. your members are making it happen. we are so happy to learn of your decision to commit to stay on as chairman. that delighted us. [applause] in fairness, judge judy said she wasn't retiring, so i thought i have got to stick with the day job. we will see. led to: tell us what has that.
mr. pai: the excitement on executing on our agenda. the job is not done. our top job of closing the divide, modernizing, extending opportunities to everybody hasn't been accomplished. there is more we want to do. having the ability to work with fantastic. it has been amazing. they believe in this mission, work every day to make sure we execute. i enjoy traveling the country. the last couple of days i was in atlanta talking with folks on what digital opportunity means especially for entrepreneurs, minorities and women and other underrepresented populations. broadband really is -- to be one small piece of the puzzle has been extremely rewarding. matthew: any particular story that comes to mind? mr. pai: there are so many. i will confess i am coming back from atlanta where dominique
williams and i did some events together to highlight telemedicine, broadband and health care intersecting, people with diabetes, pregnant women who have given birth and leave the hospital and vital signs need to be monitored. the 15-year-old in me was thinking this is dominique williams -- wilkins. thestories i carry are eighth graders that i met in new mexico who said for the first time the school had broadband and what it means to do homework in school. the grew the in pembroke, new hampshire. they are able to hire people, build infrastructure, connect. the people in mississippi who told me because of our reforms they are able -- taking risks to build it out do unserved parts of the country. you will never see them on the front pages of the papers or cable tv but they are the ones
who are critical to making the american dream a reality. that is what motivates me to come in and go over these orders and make sure we get it right. if we do, all of you do what you do best, connecting these americans with opportunity. the 15,000 employees of our cable association members and 8 million subscribers are committed to making that happen and bringing broadband in their communities to change. thank you. mr. pai: i can't imagine how hardmr. pai: it is. i have seen it up close. it is not easy. these networks don't have to be built. we need to do everything we can to maximize incentive to pursue your own business cases. agenda. lome cover your i call it a grand slam. we ended title ii regulation of isp's. you are facilitating attachments, a huge issue for members, expediting access to
public rights of way and reasonable cost and opening blocks of spectrum. how do you top this? mr. pai: it is ambitious. part of that has been inspired by advocacy from you, so thank you. over when is glaze is importantthis but the cost of building a broadband network, it is a big number. to minimize that is significant. we will continue to execute on those things. nothing in particular, just what you see is what you get to will modernize regulations and make sure we get incentives for executing on the business case. you focused on smaller operator relief, granting waivers through the accessible interface requirement, disparity regulatory and feeds, limiting data collection, allowing electronics collection,
on and on. we applaud you for those actions. what do you see coming down the pike related to not just smaller cable and broadband providers but how you can help smaller businesses facilitate and provide more services? we have done a lot. this is recognition that is lost in washington. regulation has a disproportionate effect on smaller businesses. it is big corporations that -- lawyers and accountants and compliance officers to throw in a problem. it is smaller companies that are the ones that bear the brunt. they are the ones who are the canaries in the coal mine in terms of investment to be and towardsy from managing these requirements. that is part of the reason we do what we do. you mentioned some but we have
more to come. this afternoon we are circulating that other one of the media monetization initiative orders to get rid of some of the hard copy more to come. this afternoon we are requirements making in channel lineups. it has been many years since someone stopped by the office to channell us what the lineup is. we are getting rid of that regulation in three weeks. there is more to come. our staff is working hard on a number of initiatives. thess reform is one of things we are actively studying and i would hope reforms would be outlined in the future. there is an electronic delivery of communications between we have had ongoing for a while. your input was critical in terms of communications with broadcasters. we are studying that. the scope of franchising authority, an old chestnut. we are getting that one as well. looking for it on all of these fronts to deliver a more modernized set of regulations that work for the benefit of smaller companies.
you don't have to go through these hoops that are no longer relevant or necessary in 2019. matthew: our association has been around 26 years. we started on the thing you said which was things that happen in washington by ways of laws and regulation have a disproportionate impact on smaller businesses that have fewer customers. that is music to our ears. the fact he recognized part of the deployment of these advance services we have to take into account the voice of small business. i wish that part of the argument got more traction. this company is benefiting from deregulation, but those folks, nobody pays attention to the folks who have to take risks and make a business case work. much mediad be as attention there because those are the ones making a serious risk when it comes to raising
funds, hiring work crews, building infrastructure, managing compliance, things that have to work and come together to form a successful business, it is not easy to do. we will continue to respect that. that town you mentioned is near pittsburgh. that is a rural area. you certainly have been out there, in the snow. it was a great part of the country. i won't bug you about antonio brown. matthew: we have moved on. we got your safety i think from the chiefs. mr. pai: defense wasn't our strong suit. hopefully he serves you better. the half hour -- 16 minutes and 32 seconds. right there for sure. let me ask you about another important issue we have been cvocating here that is the band proceeding.
certainly it has attracted a lot of attention -- exactly. we have helped -- to bring in before you. regarding the 500 megahertz of prime spectrum real estate you want to make available for 5g. from a smaller operator perspective there is concern regarding interference of satellite signals. who willy -- really will control that? private industry, a compost -- what hand the fcc will have in it? how can you ensure that through this process that specific interest of cells smaller operators are heard through it? it is a critical and complicated issue. one of my favorite movie characters might say it is complicated, lots of ian's and out's. complicated one. we recognize that 5g, the next
generation of wireless connectivity is a critical part of the wireless feature. we want america to lead on 5g. one critical part is making sure more spectrum is available for 5g innovation and investment. we focused on high band, but mid-band is also important. that has attracted a lot of interest and the potential for 200 megahertz or more to be allocated for 5g services. on the other hand there are people, broadcasters, small cable operators and others, who rely on that spectrum for delivery of critical services. one of the questions we have, a classic puzzle, how do we maximize the spectrum for everybody? is there a way to accommodate all of these? so we are trying to tease out what are the different ideas with private sale mechanisms
outlined for rulemaking, some allocated for the right approach, sunsetted has the benefit of -- approach. mores have said we want fcc led process. that is one of the things we are trying to sort through with stakeholders across the board to cable operators, programmers and others. we look forward to getting all of the input and synthesizing and trying to figure out a way to make the right decisions. it is important, not to make a right now decision. inre are a lot of interest this band that need to be accommodated. timing? what about mr. pai: it is important to get it right as opposed to moving quickly. we are deliberating as vigorously as we can and hope to reach a resolution at some point in the future once we figure out
how the results -- the pieces fit. we have seen the evidence of deployment and investment and you have continued to focus on going out into america to find places to isolate areas, identify places that continue to need broadband service. tell us about the steps you are implementing at the fcc to take it further, whether it is through another connect america fund, reverse auctions, -- tell us about the steps you are taking to identify places that need broadband. mr. pai: there are basically two tools in the box fcc has. one is to update regulations. the other is reforming federal subsidy programs, the service fund to make sure we allocate those taxpayer dollars in a way that gets the most bang for your buck.
one of the things that struck me, we have all of these great members out there building broadband and doing the hard work, creating infrastructure. we should encourage them to participate in auctions. inin the fund that we set up february 2017, we wanted to make sure we opened the system for competition and reverse options from small cable members. we are pleased with the fact cable rose to the challenge. you have fantastic infrastructure, dedicated to serving the country. you have served without federal support 840,000 different locations. we want to extend the zeal you have through the connecting america fund process. we have allocated $1.5 billion in funding to unserved parts of the country and we are working quickly to make sure we can get that funding distributed.
we have authorized and now have to distribute in a way that is coherent. we are working hard. next steps, connecting america fund phase three, remote areas, those are important issues. we are working hard on distribution of the funding. we haven't made decisions on that. i know there are many parts of the country that are off the grid. we want to make sure as we take those next steps we include you as part of the conversation because we recognize technological neutrality is important. one sector of the industry -- the one test with doing this job and we want every sector to compete through the reverse auction. good policy and also finance from our perspective are the more competition for the dollars, the less of downward pressure on prices during the reversal auction.
we did open it up to competition from other sectors. thank you for that. we look forward to working with you to extend that rhombus. matthew: we also appreciate -- that promise. matthew: we appreciate the fact you have focused on putting resources where they are needed in unserved areas compared to served by members or otherwise. that is important. critical and iis am shocked it has to be said over and over again. you took the risk to raise funds and build infrastructure. if someone came over the top of you with federal funding to overbuild you, it is a disincentive for you to take that risk again. what we have said is the basic principle of these funds should be allocated to uncertain parts of the country is a foundational principle for this. we don't want to displace revit capital.
we don't want to does incentivize smaller companies doing the work to build broadband. let's focus on underserved parts of the country. on capitol hill and when i travel, it always find bipartisan support. matthew: indeed. [applause] one other principle that is tied to that is not only do we want to focus resources where to broadband is needed but also who has not banned and who doesn't. we are talking about mapping. it was an issue a number of senators asked weeks ago. i had the chance to testify in front of the senate commerce committee on infrastructure. tell us about mapping, what is needed, what you think is most critical from a mapping perspective and maybe what kind of timeframe it would take to develop a new broadband map. mr. pai: this generated a fair amount of discussion including that hearing.
from our perspective mapping is important. informedtical to more decision-making. we set up what we called the analytics. that involved making sure we have all the data we need to make a fully informed decision. hasrate broadband data important input into everything we do. that is one of the reasons why this mapping initiative, updating the services -- the process in the lingo is important. the second reason is talking about structure for universal service, we want to make sure we know where broadband is and is not. the last thing to going back to that is out of katie funding to a part of the country that already has band especially when so many parts don't. a consumer perspective, it helps people make informed decisions because at the end of the day they want to know competitive options.
they might be able to find out through other means but we think accurate mapping which lists out all the competitors and speeds and technologies is the best way. we think it is important. that said, it is not easy to do. it is very complicated to figure out a way to balance the need for accurate and complete information with some of the burdens. that is one of the things we are currently doing and i look forward to continuing the conversation to make sure at the end of the day we had the information we need to do the job entrusted to us. mr. polka: are you thinking of any particular kinds of approaches that might be different for others? mr. pai: the cable industry,, other industries, there is no one in particular. we want to bring people together around this principle that accurate mapping and if it's everyone at the end of the day. we are pretty optimistic. mr. polka: let me ask you
something else he spent a lot of time on, trying to solve other pesky problems, robo calls, emergency communications. tell us about robo calls in your experience? mr. pai: this issue drives me crazy. i get them all the time, especially now. whenever i get a call that the number is not programmed in my phone i have a feeling, i probably just won a vacation. mr. polka: whenever you have gotten one of those calls, have you ever answered and said i am the fcc chairman? [laughter] mr. pai: i have done that once. the guy hung up immediately. i don't think he took me seriously. every now and then i answer to string them along. it is incredible. pour this entrepreneurial zeal into this. this is an issue that drives people crazy.
it is the number one complaint we get. i am as frustrated as anyone. that is part of why we are taking active steps on a regulatory and enforcement side to stem this tide. from the regulatory side have told the industry to embrace a digital fingerprint for every phone call that gets transmitted. in this regard i want to thank you, because you were a founding member of the governance authority, the secure telephone governance authority, which is critical to making sure that digital fingerprint is affixed to every phone call. i know the details are as arcane as it gets. but if we can make that a reality, every single company that carries a phone call would not carry it if it does not have a significant -- certificate which cuts off these robo calls. so thank you for that. we hope to see implementation in 2019 and we are seeing positive steps. time is not on the side of the american consumer.
we want to make sure we act quickly. have evert fines that been levied in the fcc history have been under my leadership to go after these robo callers. we want to send a message after them. this will not be profitable long-term. it drives us crazy, as i am sure it drives you crazy. mr. polka: you are great on social media. you are, you are very good at it. lighthearted in many ways. i want to see that video where you get a call and you are interacting with the guy. mr. pai: there is one in particular i get it pre-much every day at the same time. i know it is coming. every time i see that area code, here it goes. maybe we will play around with it. i will make sure i tag you. mr. polka: on a serious note regarding other pesky problems, i know you worked a lot on improving emergency communications. you visited a lot of member
systems in puerto rico and the u.s. dei. that's an important part of your agenda. mr. pai: thank you so much. i do not know if they are here. thank you for the hospitality showing me and some of the worst situations what you are doing. for those of you who did not have a chance to see it, some parts of these territories, they really looked like a bomb went off. infrastructure was completely destroyed. i was out in the dirt in puerto rico seeing some cable infrastructure that have been dropped to the ground and is some cases snapped. in other places the polls had disappeared. people had to do makeshift work by putting up bamboo and holding up the fiber that way. incredible the amount of devastation that happened. to see the resilience of the folks in the cable industry who were determined to get up and literally roll up their sleeves
to make sure these communications networks got back up and running was inspiring to us. same thing in the virgin islands. we saw that level of ingenuity. you just had to make it work. going forward we set up a disaster recovery working group as part of our advisory committee, inspired in part by the visits i took, to make sure we do everything we can to help get those networks back up and running. it is not easy at all. there are any number of reasons. any number of, things you have to confront. we want to make sure we work as partners with you and with other stakeholders and energy companies in particular to make sure we are all on the same page. often the first thing people think about, people not in the field when a thick about emergencies. we need communications networks but when an emergency hits, the first thing they want to do is get in touch with the outside
world. we have made sure we told our federal partners at fema and dhs and elsewhere, make sure you think about us when you think about emergency communications. we want to make sure we have a seat at the table because this is one of the first things that need to get back up and running. mr. polka: we have about 1.5 minutes left and i cannot let you go without asking you a video question. it is something our members will be taking up to the hill today as we take about the -- talk about the reauthorization and broadcast carriage issues, sports programming issues. there is so much more by way of competition today over the top streaming, new services, skinny bundles, but sometimes we are still locked into regimes of content carriage that are still outdated, or maybe that occur as a result of greater media consolidation. is there anything on the horizon at the fcc to take a look at
this? and also, given these changes in the industry, how do you factor in these changes in a content perspective into your fcc work? mr. pai: i think you put your finger on the basic premise. i think virtually everyone regardless of where they sit on these issues has come to recognize, which is the marketplace has changed dramatically. when i think about how my own now,take in video content it is through means which were inconceivable when i was a kid. when i was a kid it was three broadcast channels and you have 8:00 in front of the tv p.m. on sunday to watch "the love boat." don't quote me on that, if there is any press on that. c-span put us on the ohco. we recognize the marketplace has changed dramatically. when we look at the explosion of over-the-top competition and particular, one company is
pouring $10 billion into original programming and creating infrastructure. this is a major change in the marketplace. i know you spoke with mike theyriend steve scalise, are talking about how we should update these rules to reflect the reality we are in. that is something the sec is always monitoring to make sure we are on top of those develop. we look forward to working with you and congress at anyone else interested to make sure we get it right. mr. polka: you have been a terrific friend of our members. you have taken the time to understand them perhaps more than anybody before and your position. it is an honor and privilege to work with you. fcc chairman ajit pai. mr. pai: thank you so much. it was a great conversation. goes too fast. thank you so much. [applause] you are always so kind. thank you.
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